Week 6: Leonard Fournette gets top billing but Rams beat the odds

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Leonard Fournette
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Leonard Fournette /

2017 running back sensations Leornard Fournette and Todd Gurley square off and Las Vegas odds say the game is the second-toughest contest of week 6…but don’t bet on it.

The consensus at SportsBookReview has the Jacksonville Jaguars holding as 2½ favorites versus the Los Angeles Rams this Sunday. Judging from the majority of experts’ picks I’ve seen so far, most agree the Jags will prevail. And why not? Within the confines of the here and now, they did just beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, PA. Looked pretty darn deadly in the process, too. Now they play the Rams in Jacksonville.

Heck, at first glance I was slightly worried. Then I did some homework.

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First, if you plan to bet this game know this going in; Las Vegas sets odds in order to entice your wager, not to impress you with how much they know.

Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette deserves top pre-game billing.

"“Leonard Fournette might be the most exciting player of 2017.” ~ Ralph Warner of NFL.com"

As mentioned, the Jaguars are fresh off an impressive 30 – 9 road victory against the Steelers. But upon further review, I didn’t find it as impressive as its highlights. And once you factor in the “on any given Sunday” rule, heck, it happens to the best of them.

Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions in the game, three at best being his fault or partly. On one, the receiver fell down and one of two defenders happened to be standing there. The fifth and final was a garbage time Hail Mary type pass that wouldn’t have happened in most close games.

I could go on and on but basically, it was one of those freakish games teams have from time to time.

Remember the Rams – San Francisco 49ers game? And the following week you doubted the Rams could beat the Dallas Cowboys. Be honest. Well, Sunday the ‘niners lost to the Indianapolis Colts, who many believe are the worst team in the NFL. Do you still believe the Rams are a mere two points better than them just because of the final score? Didn’t think so.

Going back two weeks, Jacksonville looked nearly as bad as the Colts in their overtime loss to the New York Jets. I can’t bet on any team to beat this year’s Los Angeles Rams that not only lost to the Jets but looked mostly terrible doing it.

Jacksonville rookie running back sensation Leonard Fournette is extremely talented and capable of carrying his team to victory. The problem I foresee week 6 is that the Rams figure to have the lead in the later stages of the game. He’ll need to pull something close to the 90-yard touchdown run he had in garbage time out of his hat again. What are those odds two weeks in a row?

Receiver Marqise Lee was the team’s leading receiver last week with two catches for 49 yards. This won’t get it done this week but ask yourself, how much is quarterback Blake Bortles capable of in crunch time?

Why the Rams will win.

This should be a good game to gage the Rams’ receivers. Despite the final score, the Steelers (with one of the league’s best receiving corps) had success. If Jared Goff returns to his improved form, he should have at least moderate success, too.

If the Rams are smart in their game planning, they will look to give Todd Gurley twenty-plus carries. Cooper Kupp and Tavon Austin occasionally catching short passes in the open field is also a dangerous deterrent to keying on Gurley. And heaven help the Jacksonville defense is Sean McVay learns that Sammy Watkins and Josh Reynolds on the field at the same time can work wonders.

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Overall, the Jaguars are currently arriving in the place where the Rams are slowly leaving. That “stuck in the mud” location where a team’s wheels can spin and spin. As soon as it looks like they’re getting the respect they crave, they lose a game they definitely shouldn’t have. This hasn’t happened to the Rams so far this season. For that reason and in spite of Vegas tagging them underdogs, I view this as a game they should win outright. Prediction: Rams 30, Jaguars 23